Could you pass the11-plus?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - Po­lit­i­cal Editor by Paul Fran­cis pfran­cis@thek­m­ @PaulOnPol­i­tics

The race to se­cure a place at one of Kent’s gram­mar schools gets un­der way next month with as many as 13,000 chil­dren pre­par­ing to take the 11-plus test.

While the is­sue of se­lec­tion re­mains po­lit­i­cally con­tentious, the de­sir­abil­ity of gram­mar school places re­mains high – so much so that sev­eral thou­sand of those vy­ing to se­cure one come from out­side Kent and Med­way.

Changes to the Kent test, aimed at mak­ing it less coach­able, came in two years ago.

County ed­u­ca­tion chiefs were in­creas­ingly con­cerned that in some parts of the county, no­tably west Kent, the scale of pri­vate tu­tor­ing was giv­ing an ad­van­tage to those who were able to af­ford to pay.

It has been sug­gested the emer­gence of a thriv­ing coach­ing cul­ture dis­ad­van­taged those from poorer back­grounds – which was the orig­i­nal idea be­hind gram­mar schools.

There were also con­cerns that pri­vate prep schools were ac­count­ing for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of places.

De­spite all of this, there has been no de­cline in the num­ber of chil­dren tak­ing the 11-plus for en­try to one of Kent’s 33 gram­mars and the six in Med­way.

And if the pro­lif­er­a­tion of test guides and prac­tice pa­pers in high street book stores are any­thing to go, many are still pre­pared to go the ex­tra mile to en­hance their child’s prospects.

The key dates for the 11-plus for Kent gram­mars are Septem­ber 10 – for chil­dren who go to school in Kent – and Septem­ber 12 – for chil­dren who go to school out­side Kent.

The re­sults will be posted on Oc­to­ber 14 but this is only the start of the process.

For those that have passed, the next stage is to ap­ply for a place at a par­tic­u­lar school, along with those ap­ply­ing for places at non-se­lec­tive schools.

It will not be un­til Na­tional Ad­mis­sions Day on March 1 next year that chil­dren will find out which school they have been of­fered a place at.

In Med­way Med­way, pupils will ei­ther take the test on Tues­day, Septem­ber 15, or Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 16, where schools have opted for a week-day test or Satur­day, Septem­ber 19. Re­sults will be posted on Oc­to­ber 2. In both Kent and Med­way, the re­sults can be ac­cessed online on these dates pro­vided par­ents have reg­is­tered to do so.

Pri­mary school chil­dren across the county will be tak­ing the 11-plus this month; left, changes were made to the test two years ago to make it less coach­able

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